ALTHOUGH THE VEGA COMPANY OF BOSTON was known primarily as a manufacturer of high-quality banjos, they also made very fine mandolins of several varieties. In addition to a full line of bowl-back and flat-back instruments, Vega introduced a new design in 1918 that they called the “Lute Mandolin.” The spruce top was made in the traditional bent-top manner with a 2-point design, but the back had an unusual curvature referred to as a “cylinder-back” by many comtemporary collectors. This design was employed on several models, from this style 202 with its mahogany back and sides to more elaborate models with Brazilian rosewood and curly maple (styles 203-207). These mandolins produced a very warm tone and are the only such instruments with this beautiful and unique feature, a missing link between the traditional bowl-back designs of the past and the more contemporary arched tops and backs.
(from Tone Poems CD booklet , used by permission)
Photography by Eric Harger